Beren received the Fulbright Scholarship in March to study in Germany for the 2012–13 academic year. He will continue his research in microbiology at the Technical University of Munich.
“I knew about Fulbright early on in my college career,” said Beren, senior in microbiology and German from Cooper City, Fla. “I did some research about the program and decided it was something I wanted to pursue.”
The Fulbright program is a international educational exchange sponsored by the U.S. government and more than 150 other nations which allows students to study in the country and subject of their choice.
“I decided after I did a study abroad program in Vienna I wanted to go back to Europe,” Beren said.
Beren said he is not far removed from his heritage.
“I figured Fulbright was my best option to go to the country of my choosing,” he said. “Being of German heritage and with my double major in German, it worked out perfect to go to Germany.
“My dad’s family is full German and my mom’s family came from Switzerland, southern Germany and Luxembourg. My mom’s family came over post-Civil War. My dad was the first one in his family not born in Germany; his older brother and sister were both born in Germany. My dad’s parents immigrated in the 1950s.”
Mark Liles, associate professor of biological sciences, has developed a close relationship with Bergen as a professor and mentor.
“In many ways, Paul has performed like a graduate student in my laboratory with his own set of research goals, and we have worked together as a colleague, friend and mentor,” Liles said. “One thing Paul deserves particular recognition for is in serving as the president of the Auburn Microbiology Club for two years, during which time Paul has helped the club grow from 45 members to now almost 500 members.
“There are many of us here in the Auburn family that will benefit from Paul’s hard work for years to come.”
Thomas Nadar, associate professor of German foreign languages and literatures, has also been an influential professor during Beren’s time at Auburn.
“Paul has never given less than his very best to his academic studies at Auburn,” Nadar said. “I was particularly impressed with his ability to write lucid, perceptive and critical weekly essays in German as well as in English.
“He writes with such clarity and directness, and he has a genuine gift for expressing himself through both the written and spoken language.”
Beren’s performance during his undergraduate studies enabled him to make it past the three competitive stages to receive the Fulbright.
The first round is a local screening board where a committee reviews a student’s Fulbright application.
A national screening board conducts the second-round review and sends applications to the Fulbright commission of the host country being applied to.
For the third round, the student must receive approval from the commission in the host country.
Fulbright pays for tuition and fees at the student’s university of choice and awards a monthly stipend. The student is required to live with a host family for six weeks and can then move into student housing or an apartment.
“Once I found out about Fulbright I was ecstatic and my family was ecstatic,” Beren said. “My parents are going to fly over with my two sisters for Christmas and meet me in Germany. It’s an opportunity that I’m not going to pass up.”